It has been nearly 27 years since 23-year-old Heather Teague was reportedly abducted from Newburgh Beach in Henderson County. In the decades since, the Madisonville woman’s mother, Sarah Teague, has never stopped fighting to find her daughter and those responsible for her disappearance.
“I believe when the full truth comes out about this crazy story, there will be some surprises,” Sarah said recently. “There have been some strong developments from time to time. I believe over the past few months, we are closer to finding the answers than we ever have been.”
Sarah said the story of Heather’s disappearance will soon receive renewed attention as a production crew from a national news organization prepares to visit her at her home in Manchester, Ky., as well as locations throughout west Kentucky. The crew is working on source footage for a new show, but the network does not yet wish the name of the show to be revealed.
On Aug. 26, 1995, Heather visited Newburgh Beach along the Ohio River for sunbathing. A man in Newburgh, Ind. – Tim Walthall – was watching the Kentucky side of the river through a telescope, and told police he witnessed man described to be 6-foot-1 and around 230 pounds, with a full beard and possibly wearing a wig and mosquito netting pull Heather into the woods at gunpoint.
Heather’s remains have never been found.
Sarah has never bought in to the Kentucky State Police explanation that Marty Dill, a Henderson man, was solely responsible for Heather’s disappearance. Sarah had Heather declared legally dead in 2007 in order to obtain Federal Bureau of Investigation files, though holds out hope she is still alive.
“There were days before state police even had a composite drawing completed with Walthall, and that drawing looked just like Dill’s 1994 driver’s license photo,” she said. “Marty Dill could not have been the man seen on the beach because he was basically bald and clean shaven at the time of Heather’s abduction.”
Sarah explained Dill had been incarcerated at the Webster County Jail leading up to the abduction, and had been forced to shave his hair and beard after a lice outbreak in the facility.
Dill committed suicide in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, 1995, as officers were approaching his home to execute a search warrant. Dill’s wife went on to affirm her Fifth Amendment rights during a subsequent Grand Jury proceeding.
Sarah said she has long believed another man, Christopher Below, was involved in Heather’s disappearance, and even some private investigators who have looked over investigative records have theorized the men could have acted in concert.
Below was incarcerated in Ohio on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a former romantic partner.
“For a long time, I have believed there have been efforts to suppress information in this case,” Sarah said. “I don’t know the reasons; there are certainly theories as to why, but we are still searching for those answers.”
Of concern to Sarah have been differences in two dispatch tapes obtained from Kentucky State Police, the second of which was obtained in 2019 following an Open Records Act lawsuit.
“There are little pieces that God has chosen to give me; the truth will be revealed,” Sarah said. “I just want her back, I want her home. Things are really coming together the past couple of months. All of this is to honor Heather and find the answers to all the questions from 26-and-a-half years.”
Sarah has connections to Hancock County as she lived here for three years as a teenager when her father, John Jenkins, was pastor of a Pellville church. Sarah was the 1968 Sorghum Queen, as well.
By C. Josh Givens